Homecoming: Beale Airmen return from deployment

The Patriot Guards volunteer group and Beale Airmen greet returning aircrew after their recent 6-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom utilizing the MC-12W Liberty aircraft Oct. 13, 2015, at Beale Air Force Base, California. The returning group of Airmen represent the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons and completed the final MC-12 deployment from Beale. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey M. Schultze)

The Patriot Guards volunteer group and Beale Airmen greet returning aircrew after their recent 6-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom utilizing the MC-12W Liberty aircraft Oct. 13, 2015, at Beale Air Force Base, California. The returning group of Airmen represent the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons and completed the final MC-12 deployment from Beale. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey M. Schultze)

Family and friends await the arrival of deployed Airmen Oct. 13, 2015, Beale Air Force Base, California. The returning group of Airmen represent the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons and completed the final MC-12 deployment from Beale. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey M. Schultze)

Family and friends await the arrival of deployed Airmen Oct. 13, 2015, Beale Air Force Base, California. The returning group of Airmen represent the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons and completed the final MC-12 deployment from Beale. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey M. Schultze)

Family, friends and members of Team Beale walk out to the flight line to greet the returning deployed Airmen Oct. 13, 2015, Beale Air Force Base, California. The returning group of Airmen represent the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons and completed the final MC-12 deployment from Beale. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey M. Schultze)

Family, friends and members of Team Beale walk out to the flight line to greet the returning deployed Airmen Oct. 13, 2015, Beale Air Force Base, California. The returning group of Airmen represent the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons and completed the final MC-12 deployment from Beale. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey M. Schultze)

Family members await the arrival of deployed Airmen from the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons Oct. 13, 2015, Beale Air Force Base, California. The unit was deployed for 6-months to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey M. Schultze)

Family members await the arrival of deployed Airmen from the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons Oct. 13, 2015, Beale Air Force Base, California. The unit was deployed for 6-months to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey M. Schultze)

Beale Air Force Base, Calif. -- With the sound of a Boeing 777 jet touching down on the flight line; Beale Air Force Base welcomed back Airmen from the 427th and 306th Reconnaissance Squadrons.  They completed the final deployment of the MC-12W Liberty Aircraft from Beale. Their deployment was to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Upon arrival at Beale the Airmen were embraced by friends and family after supporting wartime operations the last 6 months. Working long hours and supporting combat sorties the Airmen were highly motivated to get home for some well-deserved downtime.

MC-12W Pilot Capt. Michael reflected on his return to Beale "It's my third deployment in three years here with the MC-12W, third one, last one.  It feels really great to be home."

This homecoming is special in that it is the final MC-12 deployment from Beale with the flying program transitioning within the Department of Defense. The MC-12W aircrew will be transitioning into new airframes throughout the Air Force.

The MC-12W is a medium-altitude manned aircraft. The primary mission is providing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance support directly to ground forces. During the deployment, the Airmen lived, ate, and flew combat missions with Army aviators on a daily basis. They conducted support for more than 2,500 combat missions, and completed more than 8,000 combat hours.

During its tenure the MC-12W program amassed more than 400,000 combat hours, over 79,000 combat sorties, eliminated more than 8,000 enemy combatants and saved countless coalition forces.

"The MC-12 is an extraordinary story of the ingenuity of Americans," said Col. Douglas Lee 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander. "They took an off the shelf King Air 350, installed some incredibly modernized ISR equipment, and then they turned it loose in combat with young men and women who supported troops on the ground on a daily basis."